The small historic culture-rich Armenia, once part of the powerful USSR, is making strong inroads in the field of tourism. Armenia tourism is growing every year and continues to develop this foundation.
The destination has many attractions and activities for tourists, Naira Mkrtchyan of the Armenian Russian international university told this correspondent in New Delhi, where she spoke at the recent 10th international travel and tourism conference organized by the Chandiwala Institute.
Her paper was very well received by the large gathering from India and abroad. Later, she interacted with this writer to tell more about the country and the tourism scene there.
Lavash, the traditional bread and an expression of culture in Armenia, was in 2014, inscribed in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The cuisine of the country is much relished in many parts of the world.
Naira revealed that the Open Sky policy from October 1, 2013, had helped tourism, and air capacity has increased. An easy visa policy has been introduced and steps have been taken to improve roads, hotels, and monuments. The many caves in the country attract a lot of visitors, she said, and quipped that sometimes people confuse Armenia with Romania. Armenia is one of the safest countries.
Talking of the types of tourism, the scholar-researcher said that gastrotourism, medical tourism, and hot-air ballooning were some major attractions. Business travel was also on the rise, and the nightlife was also a draw. Concerts and bands also keep the visitors happy. Armenia is adept at combining historical and modern life attractions.
Armenia finds much mention in the religious field as well. Many people from Armenia have settled abroad, including in India. Also, being strong on medical education, the country attracts many students, which in turn also means more tourism business.
National Geographic has put Armenia on the short list of suggested best destinations, while UNWTO posts Armenia in 12th place among tourism developing destinations.
Russia, CIS countries, and the European Union account for a major chunk of tourist arrivals, while the USA is 5 percent and Iran is 5.4 percent of the arrivals total.
The increase in numbers in 2019, over 2018, was 14.7 percent, and the previous year saw a 26.7 percent increase. All strong indicators of a tourism country on the rise.